Enlarged Spleen in Cats

Victoria Heuer
Jul 01, 2009
2 min read
Image: Photo Grapher / via Image Bank

Splenomegaly in Cats

Splenomegaly refers to the enlargement of the spleen. This medical condition can occur in all breeds and genders, and is not usually directly related to the spleen, but rather a symptom of another disease or condition. Treatment options will be recommended based upon the cause of the splenomegaly.

Symptoms and Types

An enlarged spleen may lead to such symptoms as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lethargy and reduced activity
  • Weakness, and possibly collapse

Causes

A variety of conditions are known to cause an enlarged spleen including an abdominal injury, infectious disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, bacterial infection, cell tumors of the spleen, and other immune disorders. While these are some of the most common causes, the medical causes for an enlarged spleen are not directly related to the spleen itself, but rather a symptom of another disease or condition.

Diagnosis

Upon examination, a prominent spleen or a protruding abdomen may be noticed. A fine needle aspiration may then be used to diagnose the spleen disorder. Ultrasounds and X-rays may also be used to view the spleen and surrounding areas for abnormalities. In addition to imaging, blood work will give a comprehensive review of all possible underlying medical issues.

Treatment

The recommended treatment options will be dependent upon the underlying causes of the enlarged spleen. As an enlarged spleen is typically a sign of another underlying medical condition. It is important for your veterinarian to understand the cause before establishing a proper treatment for your cat. In severe cases, removal of the spleen (splenectomy) may be recommended.

Living and Management

Many of the common underlying medical causes are treatable with prescription medication. In the event that the spleen is removed, your cat will require rehabilitation to heal properly; its activity will need to be restricted.

Prevention

There are currently no known preventative measures for an enlarged spleen.

Image: Andrey_Kuzmin via Shutterstock

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